TWRC’s Sustainable Waterfront, Sustainable City conference results

This conference took place in Toronto on April 27, 2005, and included guests from Sweden and Vancouver who added greatly to the Toronto waterfront discussion. The results of the conference are as follows:

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) is committed to building vibrant, sustainable communities on Toronto’s waterfront. Revitalization will be driven by sustainable community development, green design and building standards and efforts to minimize building and social environmental impact.

TWRC has developed a Sustainability Framework that identifies concrete short, medium and long-term actions to revitalize brownfield sites, reduce energy consumption, construct green buildings, improve air and water quality, and expand public transit.

Beyond the framework, the TWRC initiated an audit of the West Don Lands and East Bayfront precinct plans by a team of Swedish sustainability experts and is developing green performance standards for residential and commercial buildings that will be included in the developer proposal calls for precinct development later in 2005.

The TWRC is targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold as a standard for waterfront development. LEED is an international third-party building assessment and certification tool that is administered in Canada by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). The prerequisites and credits are organized into five principal categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality.

The TWRC will work in partnership with the development industry to transform market practices to incorporate progressive green technologies, design and planning. The TWRC will support this shift from “business as usual” in several ways, including:

1. Creating demand for “green” home ownership by marketing its benefits to consumers.

2. Continuing to collaborate with organizations that support and promote sustainable development including the CaGBC, Sustainable Buildings Canada, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

3. Working with the Office of Energy Efficiency of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to offer sustainable building and energy efficiency training over the next six months to developers, builders, architects, engineers and trades people for the Phase 1 construction of the West Don Lands.

Beyond building specifications, TWRC will initiate other sustainability features such as a district energy system, storm water management and public transit investment. A District Energy System provides heating and cooling to a community of buildings from one central plant. This efficient thermal energy alternative will reduce the development and operational costs of new buildings and lower the environmental impact by reducing overall air emissions. This central system may use natural gas, oil or renewable energy as fuel and will be distributed using either hot water.

The TWRC is committed to ensuring that the first buildings constructed in the West Don Lands will be part of a district energy system.